Sales of premium apple and flavoured ciders growing on tap

People sitting a pub drinking Strongbow cider

DEMAND for premium apple and flavoured ciders on draught has been growing steadily in Scotland over the past five years, according to brand owner Heineken UK.

The company, which owns the Inch’s and Orchard Thieves cider brands as well as Old Mout and Strongbow, says the value of premium draught cider sales has grown by 67% (apple ciders) and 275% (flavoured ciders) in Scottish pubs and bars over the past five years – meaning outlets with a focus on premium products, in particular, should be looking into offering a selection of swankier ciders on tap. 

Particularly as, according to Heineken UK, 54% of cider drinkers overall prefer draught cider over packaged.

“While premium segments command higher RSPs, their rate of sale subsequently drops as consumers see the high price jump as a barrier to entry,” said a spokesman for the company.  

“However, premium outlets should consider looking at premiumising their range and taking advantage of this growth.”

That doesn’t mean licensees can ignore the range of ciders in the fridge, however – and that’s particularly true in the summer months. 

Heineken reckons 30% of cider drinkers are more likely to opt for bottles or cans during summer. 

“Therefore, flexing fridge space to allow a greater selection of packaged ciders over summer will cater to these consumers,” said the spokesman.

“Focus on breadth of flavours to maximise choice rather than doubling up on similar flavours across brands, and use premium flavoured ciders to encourage trade up.”

And ‘signposting’ any premium products in the fridge will be particularly important, with those products less visible to customers than their counterparts on the bar-top. 

The Heineken UK spokesman said showcasing premium packaged products on chalkboards, menus and social media is “particularly important with packaged cider as it can be difficult to see the variety of flavours on offer in the fridge”. 

“If you already have a drinks menu, ensure this is up-to-date across all touchpoints – including your website and any order-and-pay apps – and highlight any new listings to attract attention, such as by placing them within a coloured box,” he said.   

“At the bar, consider back bar displays in hot spots that will make your cider offering more visible and encourage sales of more premium packaged ciders to drive revenue – rather than consumers simply defaulting to brands or flavours that they know.”